Pentecost, Confirmation, and the Gifts of the Holy Spirit

North Texas Catholic
(Apr 18, 2024) Faith-Inspiration

(Courtesy of X/@BPOlsonFW)

Bishop Olson's 2024 Confirmation Schedule

Having recently celebrated the Solemnity of Easter Sunday and now relishing the beauty of the Easter season, we quickly approach Pentecost. With this upcoming solemnity, we are entering what is often referred to as “confirmation season.” The faithful are familiar with the general relationship between Pentecost and confirmation and why the Church emphasizes the celebration of the sacrament at this time of year. However, some specifics would be fitting to review.

Of foundational importance to this consideration is the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives; one which the Catechism of the Catholic Church refers to as a “Joint Mission” with Christ (689-690). Just as these two divine persons of the Most Holy Trinity worked together in the regeneration of John the Baptist (CCC 717) and the life of the all-holy ever-virgin Mother of God (CCC 721), they operate together in our sanctification, especially through the sacraments (CCC 739).  

(Courtesy of X/@BPOlsonFW)

While both divine persons are certainly active in all the sacraments, it is confirmation which tends to be more associated with the Holy Spirit. A primary reason for this is confirmation “perpetuates the grace of Pentecost” (CCC 1288). As such, since the Spirit was active in a special way on the day of Pentecost, He is uniquely operative in the sacrament of confirmation. As the Catechism dictates: “the effect of the sacrament of confirmation is the special outpouring of the Holy Spirit as once granted to the Apostles on the day of Pentecost” (1302). 

The specifics associated with this infusion of grace (which is an increase and deepening of baptismal grace) include an increased conformation to Christ, a more perfect bond with the Church, and an increase in the gifts of the Holy Spirit, including “a special strength of the Holy Spirit to spread and defend the faith by work and action as true witnesses of Christ” (CCC 1303).  These gifts are illustrated in the liturgy of the Confirmation Mass — in the Laying on of Hands, prior to the Anointing with Sacred Chrism:

            Almighty God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ

            who brought these your servants to new birth

            by water and the Holy Spirit,

            freeing them from sin:

            send upon them, O Lord, the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete;

            give them the spirit of wisdom and understanding,

            the spirit of counsel and fortitude,

            the spirit of knowledge and piety;

            fill them with the spirit of the fear of the Lord.

            Through Christ our Lord (Order of Confirmation 25).     

These seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, for which the celebrant prays, are, with the possession of sanctifying grace, “permanent dispositions which make man docile in following the promptings of the Holy Spirit” (CCC 1830). They “complete and perfect the virtues,” making the faithful capable of “readily obeying divine inspirations” (CCC 1831). This means the gifts offer us the power to be spontaneous in our spiritual life. Rather than all our efforts being laborious, the Holy Spirit directs our way, sovereignly offering us a participation in His divine life. He does this through imbuing our nature with His presence. 

(Courtesy of X/@BPOlsonFW)

In our intellect, He grants us wisdom to relish the things of God and directs our life to His honor and glory, knowledge to discover the will of God in all things, understanding to know more clearly the mysteries of faith, and counsel to warn us of deception and the dangers to salvation. In our will, He infuses piety to make us love God as Father and obey Him as such. For the benefit of mastering our passions, He gives the gifts of fortitude to strengthen us in doing the will of God and fear of the Lord to offer us a dread of sin and eagerness in always remaining close to Him.

May we all live in accordance with our confirmation!

Solemnity of Easter Sunday, beauty, Easter season, Pentecost, trending-english